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Two samurai fighting on the roof of Horyu Tower (Horyukaku), c. 1830-1870

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Samurai warriors fight on top of the Horyukaku (Horyu Tower), c. 1830-1870

Two samurai fighting on the roof of Horyu Tower (Horyukaku), Japanese woodcut print c. 1830-1870

Library of Congress / No known restrictions

This print shows two samurai, Inukai Genpachi Nobumichi and Inuzuka Shino Moritaka, fighting on the roof of Koga Castle's Horyukaku (Horyu Tower). The fight comes from the early nineteenth-century novel "Tales of the Eight Dog Warriors" (Nanso Satomi Hakkenden) by Kyokutei Bakin. Set in the Sengoku era, the massive 106-volume novel tells the story of eight samurai who fought for the Satomi clan as it reclaimed Chiba province and then spread into Nanso. The samurai are named for the eight Confucian virtues.

Inuzuka Shino is a hero who rides a dog named Yoshiro, and guards the ancient sword Murasame, which he seeks to return to the Ashikaga shoguns (1338-1573). His opponent, Inukai Genpachi Nobumichi, is a berzerker samurai who is introduced in the novel as a prison inmate. He has been offered redemption and a return to his post if he can kill Shino.

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